I am going to be stern here at times. I am (mostly) kidding. Maybe I should have waited to the end to tell you that.

The brilliant Scott Siskind* has a new post at Astral Codex Ten, Kids Can Recover From Missing Even Quite A Lot of School about how much effect there will be from children missing school because of CoVid. The short answer is Academically, not much. Children have gone through much worse in many times and places and caught up in a year or so. Social/cultural/moral/character development? This is hard to measure, but there may be something to that. Being Dr. Siskind and a bit obsessive, he cites a good deal of research, mercifully by linking to it. He is as cynical about schools and teachers as I am, except he’s smarter and more diligent about research.

I once thought I would be pleased if schools figured out that they aren’t there to teach academics and aren’t very good at it. (Nor have they ever been, even in the Good Old Days. I wrote about those days a decade ago, Part One and Part Two, in which I say a lot of things people will disagree with, but are nonetheless true. Schools were different but not better then. The reason you want to tell me why I’m wrong is likely something I have already heard.) The primary value of schools may always have been in their teaching of conscientiousness, group norms for behavior, and other things we would file under “character.” However, if we were to free current teachers up to teach character it would be one more excuse to teach anti-racism and other forms of How to Be a Good Liberal. Still, I can dream, because no school is going to take my advice anyway, no matter how right I am.

I mentioned that people will not much attend to what I say here, which I know because I have been in a thousand discussions about education in my life, and the same things always happen. Everyone is sure they are an expert and will tell you anecdotes about their grandfather who grew up on a farm with no electricity but went to a good old-fashioned school where they taught real content and became a chemical engineer. Damn kids don’t even know how to shoe a horse these days. Or they will give you examples of how bad things are now, or insist that things used to be better because…anecdotes. I have opinions which I will get out of the way now, which are that phonics is somewhat better than whole word, especially for poor students, and that drill in math is better than concept, especially for poor students. But it’s largely genetic and the good students are going to do fine anyway unless you beat them for stupid reasons. Whatever isn’t genetics is mostly family and neighborhood.

But it’s just oddly reflexive, that people just have to tell you these things whenever you say “education.” They have stored packets that have to be discharged.

The Teaching of Math

I start here because it gives insight into the rest of my points. Siskind is correct that we don’t use much of any of it beyond basic Algebra. A pal who is a PhD research chemist out of MIT told me recently “I never took a derivative in my entire career.” Across the table, an engineer from the Portsmouth Shipyard said “I actually did – once.” They both used fragments of the more advanced maths they had been taught, and sometimes used a particular bit repeatedly, but most of it was gone. Some people do use advanced math in their professions, but not many, and even they use only a small portion of what went by in 11th grade. But the reason all that “useless” math came into the curriculum developed over time, and is now obscured. Yet still useful. Much of math builds layer upon layer. The basic layers are stone and brick, solid things we will use all our lives: arithmetic, percentages, simple graphs. As we move along, the material they make us work with is less solid. In this analogy, they are pieces of lumber or shapes in hard plastic: basic algebra finding x, similarity of triangles. By late highschool it has become a house of cards, things few of us will ever use again: trigonometry, different bases, quadratic equations. (If one goes on in using such things, one reinforces them and makes them solid.) Yet this very artificiality is part of the point. These structures will not stay up long. You will forget them in a few years. But they are measuring how high you can build in a mostly abstract way. Algebra II turns out to be a very good dividing line for how well you can think abstractly. That’s what the math SAT is measuring.

Kids whose math education is interrupted late in school aren’t going to look as smart on those tests, because it goes away so fast. But they will still be that smart, they just won’t have shown it. If they are going on in physics, they may have to catch up. But they will.

If schools really had it together for teaching 90% of the students what would be useful, there would be 9th grade basic Algebra and Geometry, then subsequent years of Probability, Statistics (including How To Lie With Statistics), How To Estimate, and numbing drill about units of measure and converting percentages to fractions. Because that’s what most people will use. Anything above Geometry should be used only for that house-of-cards-abstract-thinking evaluation.

Recautioning about explaining to me patiently about what I haven’t considered that you need to explain to everyone.

The audience at Chicago Boyz is in no way representative of the general population. All of you are in the top 5% of intelligence, so your experiences and the experiences of your close relatives are not likely to be good examples about education. They just aren’t. If you want anecdotes I can supply them all day. I have five sons, three adopted, plus foster children. At least twenty schools. Private, public, home, technical, religious, specialty. Bring data instead, because that would involve the other 95% of the country. You wouldn’t be here reading about education online at a thought-heavy site if you weren’t smart. You might be a fool for some other reason, but you’re smart.

The Teaching of Other Academic Info

The rest of schooling bears relation to this. The 3-point essay teaches something about what is persuasive and what isn’t, but you aren’t likely to ever need it, nor diagramming a sentence. You seldom use citations in your job. (Siskind gave a humorous example of what the teaching of history is really like.) E D Hirsch was absolutely right about Cultural Literacy – for those who go on to public discussion in life. And he lost even that battle, unfortunately. Those elements are the same house of cards, though sometimes with a bit more applicability than with math. You won’t much need them, but we want to see how you do trying to make a logical argument, or at least following one. We want to see if you can show up on time, not screw up the classroom for everyone else, hand in an assignment, pay attention even if you aren’t fascinated, not cheat, accept criticism. This is what schools could be good at, and why the deterioration of behavior standards is such a crying shame. The kids that can learn this will pick it up pretty well in any situation. The others will have very few places they will ever be taught this.

It is also valuable to be taught that life isn’t fair up to a point. Schools are designed by women for girls. This has been true since the days of Tom Sawyer but has become more extreme in the last few decades. Conscientiousness and agreeableness are Big Five Personality traits where women score higher than men, and these are heavily favored in the type of schools we have throughout the Western world. Those are good traits, by the way, and I’m glad schools teach them. But they aren’t the only thing, and they put boys in the hole from kindergarten on. A little of that might be good, learning that life isn’t fair. But now that boys have twice the dropout rate and girls make the honor roll twice as often (triple for High Honors) it has clearly gone too far. For girls the unfairness comes later when they find that outside of school the rules change and they have been lied to. I fancy early feminism sprang from this.

So schools are mostly useless academically and always have been, but we haven’t got a good plan what else we are going to do with eight-year-olds during the day. What I have put forward here suggests it should be geared to teaching them to be responsible, decent folk, without much focus on penmanship or coloring in the countries of South America very, very neatly. But the content may not matter much at all. Learning to follow directions and not make excuses is likely more important than knowing exactly where Moldova is. If they don’t enjoy reading school isn’t going to change that. The basic competence of decoding with some speed, following ten-step directions to make something, and knowing that sentences, paragraphs, and chapters are things that exist may get us through.

*Siskind is the blogger from Slate Star Codex that the NYT outed last year with his real name, which is a problem in his profession. Bit of a scandal. He eventually had to leave the agency he worked for and start his own. He thinks it may all be for the best, but it was still perfidious on the part of the Times. His I Can Tolerate Anything But the Outgroup and The Toxoplasma of Rage are two of the best essays of the 21st C.

80 thoughts on “Schools”

  1. Being able to think coherently about numerical data is important when evaluating competing claims about various policy option–such as vaccinating and/or masking 9-year-old kids. True whether you are a citizen or an officeholder or some other kind of “policymaker.” Applies also in a whole lot of business situations. Some exposure to formal statistical methods would be helpful.

    re calculus, given the importance of Simulation and Modeling in today’s world, it would be useful for people to have some basic comprehension of what such models actually *are*. A conceptual approach to differential equations, focused on problem setup rather than analytical solution methods, would be appropriate for anyone who wants to become a truly-well-educated college graduate.

  2. I went to Catholic schools through high school and the nuns might have been weak in math but they were strong on discipline. I had non-Catholic friends who attended because their parents wanted discipline. We did learn times tables and sentence diagramming. High school was a bit weak on math (no Calculus) but strong on discipline. Today, it seems that what is most missing from public schools is discipline, also known as civilization.

  3. A wise person once noted that the last man & woman on Earth will go to their graves arguing about how to educate the children they never had.

  4. “Schools are designed by women for girls. This has been true since the days of Tom Sawyer”

    Lol “In 1967 Princeton University president Robert F. Goheen announced in The Daily Princetonian that “It is inevitable that, at some point in the future, Princeton is going to move into the education of women.”[1][2] Women were first accepted in 1969: 40 members of the class of 1973 and 90 transfer students.[3”


    You got anymore silly arguments?

  5. I thought he misinterpreted the data, and rather than showing kids will be fine, it just shows schools are trash. Which is obvious to anyone who doesn’t have a Mythical Median Child, which is what our industrial system is aiming to educate, but is woefully inadequate for anyone else.
    Long story short, he’s a weirdo with no kids, and has no Skin in the Game…

  6. “You seldom use citations in your job.”

    I am a lawyer. Citations are our stock in trade.

  7. When I have more sleep I will share the experience of the side of my family that comes from North-eastern Brasil.

    TL’DR : Bah. More parochial airy-fairy pontificating that misses the point: A “school” is a place that has a teacher. A teacher is someone who can pass on what you very much want to know.

    Spot on about the math bits, though.

  8. My biggest memory of high school, in particular, was suffering through English and History classes, with female teachers, that were graded highly subjectively. The girls who hung on the teacher’s each word, and smiled at them constantly, got most of the A’s. I ultimately got my revenge, scoring much higher on both sides of the SAT, and ending up at a well rated small liberal arts college, where my grade point went up, when I could spend most of my time in objectively, and not subjectively, graded classes, while those girls getting the As in those classes mostly ended up with teacher’s degrees from the state schools, probably the mothers and grandmothers now of the teachers now refusing to go back into their classrooms and do their jobs, until their students, at negligent, barely countable, risk of dying from COVID-19, are vaccinated and masked.

    So, yes. K-12 has long been taught by females for females, while college used to be taught by males for males. Now, much less so.

  9. Yesterday, I had a discussion with a neighborhood busybody. I explained that I had a 14’ door and side walls on my new garage. It was 30’ wide, half that was 15’, and with a 4/12 (=1/3) roof pitch, 5’(=15’/3) added to 14’ sides, the peak was 19’, 1’ below the maximum 20’ allowed. As a former Navy pilot, he had no problem following my calculations.

    Most here would have had no problem following my calculations either. Most HS grads should be able to follow it, but most probably can’t. I suspect that a lot of the college educated Karens demanding that kids be masked and vaccinated probably can’t either. I spent my careers, as a software designer, then patent attorney, around people who were numerate. Both fields self select in that direction. But much of the population is not functionally numerate. This entire COVID-19 fiasco has shown us that even many of the so called “experts” put in charge of dealing with the pandemic get lost in the numbers. The media is, if anything, worse.

    We now live in a highly technical society, that ultimately depends on numeracy to understand it. Should we be surprised that much of what is being passed off as “science” is more akin to religion, when an increasing percentage of even our college educated seem innumerate?

  10. AVI’s essay echoes some of the ideas of the late John Taylor Gatto. I haven’t read all his books, but he was inside the belly of the beast and knew whereof.

    A group of my old wargaming friends–all college educated, some with advanced degrees–were planning to go to Nashville this weekend for a con. A few weeks ago something flipped and Covidphobia took over–too dangerous. As one from NC put it–“Tennessee scares me right now.”

    Since then, I’ve been tracking the NYT/CDC stats and visualizations for TN and the states my friends will be coming from, as well as their counties in some cases, and Davidson/Nashville.

    Davidson/Nashville is by all measures safer in regard to Covid than where I live. TN as whole actually has better numbers than the other states (except NC, and lags them only slightly).

    Of course I also checked the racial and age demographics of Covid vaccinations. Retired boomers are mostly covered, especially us white retired boomers. I doubt that 10% of the
    attendees will be younger than 45, and most will be in their 50s and 60s; B/black gamers will be even scarcer. There will be hotel and convention staff of course, but I’ll bet they’ve mostly been vaxxed. And hospitalizations (as of yesterday) have been trending down for weeks in all my target areas.

    Anyway, I may go by myself. When some alternatives among the small group were proposed I just opted out and haven’t said any more about it.

    When my wife asked what my friends thought about it, I told her I haven’t discussed it and probably won’t.

    If I decide not to go it’ll be because of the four-hour drive and the perils of the road, not because of the armies of unvaxxed Trumpists my friends imagine, judging by their recent

    A very wise person said you can’t reason a person out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. I would add that it’s especially true of the credentialed.

    Cousin Eddie

  11. “If I decide not to go it’ll be because of the four-hour drive and the perils of the road”

    Apparently your friends did not weigh their likelihood of death on the road to the same extent they feared the COVID horror.
    “subsequent years of Probability, Statistics (including How To Lie With Statistics), How To Estimate, and numbing drill about units of measure and converting percentages to fractions.”

    This! Innumeracy will bring down the Republic – has already done so.

    That said – I am an accountant, married to an economist. Our (adopted) children were trained at home in recognizing idiocrasy in a variety of foreign climes, not US and not in school. I love math – was blown away by the beauty of calculus when I encountered it late in life. But I belonged to the generation that said that girls don’t do math, so ended up in languages. Still places of beauty.

    76, friends all in that age range. NOT ONE Covid case, much less hospitalization or death. The only ones I know of are through the internet, like Glenn Reynolds or Pres. Trump.. Can anyone explain why natural immunity, acquired by contracting and surviving the disease, and demonstrated by antibody tests, is not considered as good as “vaccination”?

  12. Natural immunity (I prefer ‘acquired immunity’, which I believe is what it was mostly called until recently – ‘natural immunity’ sounds like something one would buy at the hippie health food store) versus vaccine-based immunity:

    This piece from Yale Medicine says:

    ““We know for at least the first few months after symptomatic disease—and even longer—that people are unlikely to become reinfected,” she says.

    But it’s important to know that immunity induced by the mRNA vaccines is stronger and more reliable than natural immunity, says Iwasaki. That’s because levels of natural immunity tend to differ from person to person. “Vaccines normalize the response to a very high level, where it uniformly uplifts everybody,” she says. “If you are starting with the high level, even if you start to decline from that level, it will take much longer before you need a booster.””

  13. Engineers use exactly enough math to solve the problem at hand, then move on to the next. The smart ones will look it up rather then rely on blurred memories from decades ago. Then, while Euler, Gauss and Leibniz remain as valid as they ever were, all sorts of underlying assumptions and applications are changing constantly. I have, from pre-internet days at least 50 pounds of books that I bought just for this purpose, I sure haven’t tried to memorize any of them. It does help to know what to look up and why.

    I like to point out to metric chauvinists that if we had adopted the metric system back when it was Jerry Ford’s answer to revitalizing the economy, we would have adopted the wrong one.

  14. ” it’s important to know that immunity induced by the mRNA vaccines is stronger and more reliable than natural immunity”
    Is there any, you know, *evidence* that shows that? I’m not aware of any…

  15. @ d – I was referred to K-12 schooling. I thought that was clear but perhaps it wasn’t. In 1969, BTW, women who were Princeton-bright went to one of the Seven Sisters. They did not remain uneducated. Would you like to try a logical argument this time?

    @ Walter Sobchak, Esq. – So you didn’t read the article, counselor? He addresses citation, which is now done automatically in many fields. Learning the mechanics of how to cite is a good thing for an attorney to learn, but A) That’s a fairly restricted field and B) Like various types of maths, narrow pieces will be used in various disciplines, but not everything in that category will be useful in adulthood. Siskind chose an example that applies to most people, while explaining how he cites things in his field now. Nothing in the article asserts that no one in any field ever cites things anymore.

  16. It appeared to me that “education” through about High School was about memorizing “words” and “concepts”, while later education involved learning how “fuzzy” and vague those words and concepts are.

    Those who never progressed beyond memorization think that things like climate “models” are Holy Writ, or some kind of core ideology, that can not be questioned without falling into “sin”.

  17. Mike–SMO…”Those who never progressed beyond memorization think that things like climate “models” are Holy Writ, or some kind of core ideology, that can not be questioned without falling into “sin”.”

    My anecdotal experience is that it is those who are college-educated…often with masters degrees or higher…who seem to reify abstractions, ie, to believe that they represent something solid and real rather than sometimes-useful tools.

    Here’s C S Lewis, describing his protagonist (a sociologist) in the novel That Hideous Strength:

    “..his education had had the curious effect of making things that he read and wrote more real to him than the things he saw. Statistics about agricultural laboureres were the substance: any real ditcher, ploughman, or farmer’s boy, was the shadow…he had a great reluctance, in his work, to ever use such words as “man” or “woman.” He preferred to write about “vocational groups,” “elements,” “classes,” and “populations”: for, in his own way, he believed as firmly as any mystic in the superior reality of the things that are not seen.”

  18. MCS: “I like to point out to metric chauvinists that if we had adopted the metric system back when it was Jerry Ford’s answer to revitalizing the economy, we would have adopted the wrong one.”

    Metric chauvinists! Love it!

    An entertaining book to recommend to Metric Chauvinists is Ken Alder’s “The Measure of All Things” about the effort of pointy-headed French intellectuals to come up with a universal measure — the metre (as they would have spelled it). Since most people won’t waste an afternoon on the book, here are some key take aways.

    First, those intellectuals started with the erroneous belief that the world was round. (In reality, it is an oblate spheroid). In a hypothetical round world, all meridians would have the same distance from pole to equator — universal! But in the real world — the distance they measured was not universal.

    But then — oops! — after a lot of trials & tribulations in taking measurements, they made an arithmetic mistake. The “universal” meter is completely arbitrary, exactly the same as the units it replaced. And the SI system is also rather arbitrary. Kids who used to absorb easily the concept that the force of gravity on one pound mass was one pound force now have the learn that the force of gravity on one kilogram mass (Why is the SI base unit 1,000 Grams instead of 1 Gram? How logical is that?) is a rather non-intuitive 9.81 Newtons.

    If people can read (which should be a key objective of schools), they can learn almost anything from books — even the shady history of the metric system. That was why self-taught Andrew Carnegie spent his self-made fortune building libraries for everyone.

  19. Measurement can be arbitrary, like the meter, and standardized across cultures, or arbitrary like the foot or yard, and differ from place to place.

    There were a dozen different measures of “mile” in Europe in 1800.

    I like the system I learned, but it didn’t come from God Almighty.

  20. David Foster posted:

    ” it’s important to know that immunity induced by the mRNA vaccines is stronger and more reliable than natural immunity”
    Is there any, you know, *evidence* that shows that? I’m not aware of any…

    That is a quote from the Yale Medicine article that mostly references earlier articles from Yale Medicine, but also references a Moderna press release. This is an updated version of an article posted on May 20. It might be considered “expert opinion”, but if you are searching for real data you won’t find much here.

    Although they do not say so, they probably are using antibody levels in the blood as a proxy for “immunity”. The vaccines definitely boost antibody levels, which are part of the body’s immune response. Other than this, I don’t want to guess at anything else here. The article is presented as “news” and not research.

  21. It would certainly seem to make sense that if someone got the original covid…and then the Delta variant shows up….that a vaccine that was specifically ‘tuned’ with the knowledge of the Delta variant would be potentially more effective than the acquired immunity for the disease itself, and that they would thus get some benefit for being vaccinated (with a later vaccine version) versus relying totally on the acquired immunity.

    Although the original vaccine does seem to provide pretty good immunity against Delta, when the data is analyzed in a proper (age-adjusted) manner:

  22. “It would certainly seem to make sense” is not evidence, David. I’m asking if there is any *evidence*, which given a disease that has been going around for 20 months, with millions of people having contracted it and millions having been vaccinated, doesn’t seem to me to be an unreasonable request. Especially when from day 1 we’ve known that reinfections are very, very rare. Is anyone actually even studying this?

  23. PS. As far as I know, the vaccines haven’t been “tuned” to Delta in any way at all. And they only train the immune system to attack one particular part of the virus–the spike protein. So I have no idea how one could argue that they are better than infection from the virus itself, at least in terms of preventing future infection. But regardless, it is bizarre to me that no one appears to be actually doing the work.
    Similarly, why is no one looking into the mechanism by which the vaccine causes severe side effects, such as heart inflammation? This isn’t anecdotal, it’s very obvious in the data and is completely accepted by the health authorities, they just dispute that it negates the benefit of the vaccine. But as far as I can tell no one is looking into what is actually going on. Why?

  24. I had a math teacher who was in Chicago when the first reactor went critical. He taught us as a hobby really, and was eccentric in many ways. One thing that amazed me, is that if I stood beside him and he explained tricky stuff, I could easily understand it. As I moved further away from him, it became harder to understand. ;)

    The smartest guy I ever met.

  25. It would certainly seem to make sense that if someone got the original covid…and then the Delta variant shows up….that a vaccine that was specifically ‘tuned’ with the knowledge of the Delta variant would be potentially more effective than the acquired immunity for the disease itself,

    I doubt this. The vaccine is a new type directed at only one protein. Traditional vaccines often function in ways we (at least I) still don’t understand. For example, the smallpox vaccine was a cross reacting virus called “Cowpox” that conferred immunity,. The vaccine still confers immunity but, since we have developed virology and genetics, it turns out the vaccine is no longer related to cowpox. What happened in two centuries ? We don’t know. But it works.

  26. This study:

    which I haven’t had a chance to read in depth yet, says that “We also showed that the Delta variant is less sensitive to sera from naturally immunized individuals. Vaccination of convalescent individuals boosted the humoral immune response to well above the threshold of neutralization. These results strongly suggest that vaccination of previously infected individuals is likely to be protective against a large array of circulating viral strains, including the Delta variant.”

    Mike K?

  27. David, once again (I only read the abstract), the antibody is to the spike protein ONLY. The genetically engineered spike protein receptor has had several mutations. Again, I am, not a virologist but the spike protein is one site and the traditional vaccines, like measles and smallpox, seem to have multiple receptors. This is a vaccine unique in medical history as far as I know. We are also dealing with a genetically engineered virus which may be more likely to mutate. The annual flu virus also mutates or, at least, combines different protein coats annually, some of which are more virulent. The immunization by infection may be weaker since the spike protein mutates. Clinical trials should help as well as more traditional vaccines. I hope politics does not interfere as it is doing with masks.

  28. Again, it seems to me this would have been simple–in January find a bunch of people, as many as you like, with known infections, and a bunch without who want the vaccine. Then monitor them for infection. No lab work or modeling necessary, just a simple empirical study. Beyond me why nothing like that has been done…

  29. Boy, this thread has sure gone round the barn, through the crik, over the hill and landed squarely in the swamp.

    I recall the announcement of the discovery/revelation/epiphany of the neuroscience community that the pathways necessary to toilet training developed on a schedule that varied from child to child and that trying to prematurely force the issue was therefore futile not to mention frustrating for everyone involved. It seems entirely plausible to me that the neurological developments underlying language and numerical proficiency would follow a similar pattern.

    Common experience is that nearly all children show a reasonable facility with language at five years of age. That makes it seem reasonable to start developing language systematically from there. My limited experience is that far fewer five year olds have much of a grasp of quantities beyond three. A complicating factor is that visual acuity also needs to have developed to the point that reading becomes possible before it’s possible to progress beyond purely verbal instruction.

    Thinking back too many years to my own earliest formal education. Maybe the very relaxed kindergarten curriculum that revolved around sitting, lining up and not talking over others with a little counting, coloring and making messes with glue and colored paper was a visionary anticipation of future discoveries.

    At the same time, the seemingly perfect malleability of early childhood challenges the ambitious to forge their ideal human. Like every other great social crusade, any failure is blamed on poor technique rather than adamant raw material. “It’s not that children can’t learn partial differential equations in pre-k, it just hasn’t been taught properly (until now, by me, with your money).”

    I’ve said that if prisons were as good at creating an aversion to crime among the population inclined to crime as schools were at creating aversion to learning in children that are naturally the most inquisitive creatures in the universe, we would approach utopia. Children, on their own, have a nearly unlimited capacity to absorb whatever strikes their fancy from dinosaurs to baseball stats and a natural perversity that insures their fancy rarely coincides with the desires of adults.

    There’s parental prestige at stake: “Joey was reading at three.”
    “How sweet, Janey was reading Nietzsche in the German at two and a half.”
    I was sort of coloring in the lines.

    This feeds into the STEM wars. Not even nuclear war would destroy a society or civilization as thoroughly as turning an entire generation into algebraic topologists, you need plumbers too. We have progressed so far down that path that the person you hire to remove the dog poop from your lawn might have an advanced degree. Remember that every architect of the present multiple crises possesses one, or often, more advanced degrees, While some are from diploma mills others are from, heretofore. well respected schools.

  30. I keep reading assertions that natural immunity from getting the disease is likely to be better – or that we should at least consider the possibility. I doubt that is the most important question. Letting lots of people get the illness in the hopes that it is better gives the virus more chances to mutate.

    And also, speak to people you know who work in ERs in any state. It is overwhelmingly the unvaccinated who are being hospitalised. For political or cultural reasons, they are angrier, more demanding, and more assaultive than the usual ER population. I have no research sources, but i have spoken to every ER person i know about this, with the same result – even in low-Covid, low-violence New Hampshire. Try it yourself.

  31. I don’t understand the “mutations” argument for vaccination. It is known that they don’t completely prevent infection, transmission, or illness, and wear off after a fairly short time, at least for the elderly, and presumably everyone. And we will never vaccinate anywhere near all of the world, so it’s not a viable strategy anyway.
    I’ve seen so many of these “oh I wish now I’d been vaccinated now that I’m in the hospital struggling” from people who are absolutely morbidly obese and I’m sorry but the media and powers that be need to realize that such stories are not persuasive at all, just the opposite in fact.
    The most important question to me is how we avoid becoming like Australia. Everything else is secondary.

  32. Letting lots of people get the illness in the hopes that it is better gives the virus more chances to mutate.

    That never happened with chickenpox. That viral disease is relatively benign in small children but lethal after puberty. Fort many years, mothers held “chickenpox parties” so their children would have the disease when it was safe. My two molder children got it spontaneously from some school friend but my youngest was still nursing and did not contract the virus, being protected by his mother’s antibodies 30 years after she had had the disease. Two or three years later he caught chickenpox from another child.

    This virus may be different as it was genetically engineered but natural immunity is most likely to be more effective than a vaccine directed at a single protein.

  33. Letting lots of people get the illness in the hopes that it is better gives the virus more chances to mutate. >
    No, but sweeping vaccination does. It is the same mechanism that makes people immune to antibiotics that were efficient only couple years ago. Vaccination against a virus triggers resistance and makes it to mutate. And the oftener the vaccination, the higher acceleration of developing even more mutations.

    speak to people you know who work in ERs
    People in ER are subjected to data bias. All they see, day after day, is a stream of infected people – while in wider population the percentages of those who got ill are in the fraction of a percent. As to patients who are getting vocal with the medicos – you bet they should. When instead of treating people at the early stages of the decease by a proven protocol the doctors do nothing and just wait till the people are mortally ill, then sending them to IVL with 80% mortality rate – and those are the same people who mis-diagnose in order to get COVID payments from the government – it is understandable that people are getting slightly fed up.
    “They are more assaultive than usual ER population” – yeah, you wanted us to be weak and meek, and go gently in that dark night, right? Maybe if we trusted you doing your job, being DOCTORS, treating people instead of inverting this natural definition of doctor into someone who benefits when patient dies, then maybe we would.

    overwhelmingly the unvaccinated who are being hospitalised.
    Not true. It’s exactly the other way around. Look at Israel – they are the first to experience the trend. Otherwise why would the pharma predators develop their so called boosters and why would the government push for it? Their “vaccines” don’t work. Their “treatment” do not treat. They deflect the blame from themselves onto population – recently, onto the children, calling them “spreaders” and schools- “super spreaders”. They had 1.5 yrs to fix this thing -and the fact they not only didn’t, but threaten to make this a permanent crisis, means it was done on purpose.

  34. My wife had Covid in June 2020 with all the usual symptoms but negative PCR tests x 5. Then she and I took the Moderna vaccine last spring. She has High IgE Immunodeficiency, that is treated with a biological product called Xolair, which costs $7,000 a month. Hers is partly paid for by a foundation. Her IGE deficiency resulted in repeated episodes of pneumonia until we found out the problem and she began the treatment 5 years ago. Since she took the Moderna vaccine (two doses) her Xolair seems to be less effective. She is getting itching and now hives, both typical of untreated IGE. I certainly hope the vaccine, a biological product, is not being inactivated by the Moderna vaccine. She is going to see her allergists soon as the symptoms are getting worse.

  35. Someone I know slightly is now recovering from Covid, had it pretty bad, sounds like his survival was in question at one point. Retired airline pilot, not obese, mid or late 60s.

    Another guy who had it is about 30…does construction and other physical work, very good physical shape. Not as bad a case as the first guy, but he was one sick puppy for a couple of weeks.

  36. Was either immunized ? I advocate vaccination for those over 60 and have no argument with a 30 year old that chooses to do so. My argument is with the political drive to put school kids in masks or to mandate vaccination of children who are at minimal risk.

  37. The mRNA vaccines are completely novel, they’ve never been used in humans before. The alternative was developing a conventional vaccine which would have taken years or may have been impossible altogether.

    The controlled trials indicated that the short term side effects were acceptable and after administering hundreds of millions of doses, this seems to be confirmed. Unquantified is the risk of side effects over the longer term as well as the risk to particular people with unusual conditions like Mike’s wife.

    The other risk is that since the mRNA vaccine produces immunity to just one portion of the whole virus, the virus may escape control if that portion, in this case the spike protein, is prone to mutating. This may be happening. The viruses that have been well controlled til now have all been stable in this regard while others, notably flu, have not. This isn’t something that the developers could have known when they started and I’m sure that there are many constraints on what is a suitable target.

    All of these risks had to be weighed against the alternative which was not certain with a far longer development time. What doesn’t seem to be happening is clarification. All of the usual trusted sources of information have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, driven by secret agendas and unwilling to provide the unvarnished truth. This would seem to be the future. I leave it to you to decide if this represents an actual change or simply the end of a mass illusion.

  38. overwhelmingly the unvaccinated who are being hospitalised.
    Not true. It’s exactly the other way around.

    Yes, true. The ratio of unvaccinated to vaccinated Covid patients hospitalized in Joplin, Missouri — ground zero of the delta variant outbreak in the United States — is eight times the ratio of unvaccinated to vaccinated people in the general population of Joplin. This is consistent with published research which shows the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine against the delta variant is 88%.

    The vaccines aren’t perfect — no vaccine is — but they greatly reduce the risk of being hospitalized with Covid.

    The other risk is that since the mRNA vaccine produces immunity to just one portion of the whole virus, the virus may escape control if that portion, in this case the spike protein, is prone to mutating.

    In general, this may be true. But the spike protein was chosen for the Covid vaccines because the spike is the key that opens the door on human cell membranes to let the virus enter. Just like you can only file on an actual key so much before it stops working in its lock, it is thought that the spike can only mutate so much before it stops working. So if the spike doesn’t mutate much, the vaccines produce antibodies for it, but if the spike mutates too much, it no longer functions, and the resulting virus is harmless.

    This is not true for the virus’s protein coat. There are a thousand ways to make those, so the virus could mutate seven ways to Sunday and still function if random proteins in the protein coat were chosen.

    What will be interesting to find out is if people immunized against the SARS-CoV-2 virus are also immune to non-Covid coronaviruses. I would think they would be, but I really don’t know.

  39. Because the effects of Covid-19 are so age-dependent, proper analysis of vaccine effects should stratify the population by age cohorts. When this is done for the Israeli data, what you get is:

    Ages 40-49 Severe cases per 100K is 16.5 for not vaxxed versus 1 per 100K for vaxxed.
    Ages 60-69 Severge cases per 100K is 76.6 for not vaxxed versus 8.7 for 100K vaxxe

    …and similarly for the other age categories.

    If all age groups are lumped in together, the results are badly skewed by the fact that older people are much more likely to be vaxxed, as well as being more vulnerable.

  40. David: Absolutely, anyone over 60 should get vaccinated (by their own free choice, of course).
    The question of the moment is what those numbers you quote look like as a function of time since vaccination. It appears that there is significant dropoff, especially among the oldest (and most vulnerable) population.

  41. Meant to include the link to the analysis of Israeli data:

    There is a lot that can and should be done with the existing data, including quantitative analysis of drop-off in effectiveness with time. Too much of the communication from the public health authorities is devoid of *numbers*, at least meaningful numbers, and is of a reseckt-mah-authoriteh nature. But there is also a fair amount of absolute crazy on the Right side.

  42. Ages 40-49 Severe cases per 100K is 16.5 for not vaxxed versus 1 per 100K for vaxxed.
    Ages 60-69 Severge cases per 100K is 76.6 for not vaxxed versus 8.7 for 100K vaxxe(sic!)

    Because the source of this statement is unknown,the figures might as well be, in fact, reversed.
    I’ve provided earlier an actual figures from an actual Israeli ER doctor (in an article in Austrian paper), who said 85% of new patients are vaccinated.
    I rather trust him.
    As to your anecdotes, here’s another, a piece of fresh news: jesse jackson twice vaccinated, got c19 (couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!).

    I’ve read somewhere about post-vaccine IQ falling to IQ8 -that might explain some comments…

  43. “But there is also a fair amount of absolute crazy on the Right side.”
    Nothing in the same galaxy of awfulness as the totalitarian and elimationist rhetoric coming from the left. I guarantee the vaccine passport nonsense has moved tons of people from “unsure” to “no way, no how, not ever.”

  44. Tatayana – You trust that ER doctor because he says what you want to hear. There is no other reason. The data is available from the 24 states that keep records. The unvaccinated are the VAST MAJORITY of hospitalisations, around 95%. As for antibiotics, their reduced efficiency is a long, long process of overuse for decades. There is no comparison to the current vaccine. You have this picture in your head that letting people get the illness is superior because it will make us stronger in overall immunity. There is no basis for this idea, it’s just a story people are attracted to.

    Brian – no, not being Australia is not the only important thing. People not dying deserves some consideration. More people getting the disease is simply a bad thing that leads to more spread and more death. Imagined mechanisms that “gee, there might be some way that we all got stronger, like when muscles are exercised,” is just one more feeling about how the world should work.

    Vaccinations have been made mandatory at times since smallpox in 1905. Do we now have smallpox superstrains because we foolishly vaccinated people against it then? MMR vaccines – have they produced super-measles? It does not even bear discussion.

    I’m done. Conservatives have gone crazy this year seeking confirmations for their beliefs any ridiculous place they can/

  45. “People not dying deserves some consideration”
    I was yelling loudly about covid in January 2020, as soon as Wuhan shut down, so give it a rest.
    Notice in David’s anecdote above, both people survived, so the smallpox comparison is completely preposterous.

  46. David F: “Ages 40-49 Severe cases per 100K is 16.5 for not vaxxed …”

    16.5 severe cases per 100,000 people in a prime working age group.

    Restated, 0.02% of the unvaccinated in that age group become “severe cases” from Covid.

    I have lots of sympathy for healthy people who get sick, from any cause; not so much sympathy for people with lifestyle preferences which make them liable to picking up diseases. But it seems inappropriate to label this disease a “pandemic” when 5,999 people out of 6,000 can choose to ‘wait & see’ on the non-FDA approved injectants without suffering significant negative health consequences.

    Bottom line, the “cure” is doing more harm than this non-pandemic disease.

  47. AVI, have you been inside my head? Don’t flatter yourself, don’t invent “the picture in my head”, it’s self-serving.

    Nobody of your beloved officials are talking about herd immunity anymore – did you notice? They lied to us. Now they see their lie is catching up with them, they no longer even mention immunity – the new song is “the pandemics are here to stay, and we are to live under constant threat and periodic “vaccinations” with “boosters”. Oh, and BTW, the “vaccinated” are spreading infection just like the unvaccinated, and what’s more, there is an small interesting effect of “vaccine shedding” – we don’t really know how it works, how many people are susceptible, does it bring perfectly healthy people to higher risk of catching c19 just because they are surrounded by statistically bigger group of the “vaccinated” – but we are confident, the vaccine(s) are safe and effective!
    “Antibiotics not compatible to current vaccines” – because there were no vaccines like current vaccines, and since the current disease is artificial, it is a product of design and selection – and the vaccines are artificial, too and so the acceleration of viral mutation is higher.
    As to whom to trust: personally, I will not trust people who have already lied to me and twisted words and went back to their recommendations time and again.
    Try to find argument that sounds reasonable to you. To me – this is

    Your mileage will vary.
    But we all, collectively, should not submit to fascist enforcement, violation of one’s body against one’s will, medical apartheid and discrimination per vaccination status.

  48. And the last thing, AVI:
    it is people like you who are crazy. Not only that, it is people like you who are stripping us out of our freedom under the false pretenses of “public health”, people like you who try to shame us and label us somehow less virtuous. You are not our betters, AVI, you’re not the selfless mitzvah-givers.
    You are the enemy of the people.

  49. Tatyana: re: Israeli numbers, etc., those of us who know, know and those who don’t know, will know soon enough…

  50. The Roadmap to Recovery, to which Tatyana linked, seems irrefutably sensible:
    “A Common Sense Approach
    AFLDS [America’s Front Line Doctors] believes that since Covid-19 is far less lethal for the young and middle-aged, and approximately the same lethality as influenza for persons in their 70s, general American life should not be altered from our approach in past years.”

    Maybe there is a parallel between (a) the Fauci-types hanging on to their initially-reasonable but now demonstrably-foolish over-reaction to this virus, and (b) the Biden* controllers handling of Dumbkirk. In both cases, it seems that the Best & Brightest are paying more attention to maintaining their narratives than to making smart adjustments to their approaches in the light of experience.

    The Fauci-types may fear they will lose credibility if they acknowledge that they initially over-reacted — even though many of us would applaud the initial over-reaction and have more respect for them if they now admitted it and rolled-back the LockDowns and mask mandates. Similarly, the Biden* team may initially have wanted to leave Afghanistan on the symbolic date of 9/11 — but most of us would have understood if they had adjusted that plan as they observed Taliban advances.

    The virtue which appears to be missing from our oh-so-credentialed masters is Humility.

  51. ..the problem of course is that at first They underreacted, by not shutting down international travel as soon as Wuhan went on lockdown (presumably because They were petrified with fear that the knives were going to come out for them once their involvement with “gain of function” research was known), then overreacted and the power has gone to Their heads…

  52. Tatyana, don’t comment here unless you can make your case without insulting the people you are arguing with.

  53. I’m done. Conservatives have gone crazy this year seeking confirmations for their beliefs any ridiculous place they can/

    Wait, what?

    Supposedly the two least-vaxxed sub-populations in the US are PhD-holders and black people. Id est, people not especially known to be conservative.

    Plus, most conservative commentators I pay attention to either have been vaccinated for Covid or tell people to get so if they think they should, or both. People I pay attention to who argue otherwise are either not conservative in any mainstream sense, or obscure, or both. I can’t tell if the putatively conservative Gee Ohhh Peee has any position on this matter one way or another, not that I care.

    Hence, I assert that your statement about conservatives I quote above is invalid.

    I made the effort to look up Derek Lowe and what he had to say about these vaccines, because I remember him from long ago and this is a topic he should know something about. My takeaway from reading his site is that the bad outcomes following Covid vaccinations are essentially like rare drug interactions that can’t be predicted or dealt with until usage leaves the trial stage. That is, until large numbers of people are using them.

    Ok, he’s the expert. My problem is that these bad outcomes seem to be vastly under-reported and anyone who notices this gets booted off social media lickety split.

    Why? If those folks are wrong and bad outcomes are rare then logic suggests they’d be kept around to be mocked and refuted. But no, they get banned asap. Bottom line- I simply don’t trust the people banning dissenters.

    I presume this puts me in the category of a fool for other reasons. I accept that.

  54. The FDA has now issued a standard approval for the Pfizere-BiNTech vaccine, now to be known as Comirnaty (why on earth?) Trials have found it to by 91% effective “in preventing COVID-19 disease”…from other data that I’ve seen, the effectiveness in preventing hospitalization and death should be a higher number.

    Side effects: The most serious seems to be myocarditis or pericarditis among people ages 30 and younger. There have been 762 confirmed reports of such disease among vaccinated people 30 years and younger. Here is an analysis of age-stratified cases versus expected background rate:

    …highest rate is 66 per million doses, which given that these vaccines are normally given in two doses, should come out to about 100 per one million vaccinated people.

  55. David: Aren’t you the slightest bit curious why the post-vaccine incidence of serious (i.e., enough to be detected and reported) heart effects is 50x the background rate in young healthy people? You don’t want to know what the vaccine is doing to cause that, before you just shrug it off? Because I kind of do…

  56. Brian, of course I’d like to know what is the mechanism driving the increase in heart effects. But decisions have to be made now, in real time, based on data and knowledge that currently exists: For what age range, sex, and health conditions is vaccination a good bet vs a questionable bet?

  57. “But decisions have to be made now”
    Yes, absolutely, 100%. All we are asking is that people (in most cases–I don’t have any problem with saying that nursing home employees should be mandated, no doubt at all) get to make that decision for themselves, and absolutely that parents get to make that decision for their own kids, no ifs ands or buts. It’s an outrage that that’s even up for debate. As far as I can tell, the FDA approval doesn’t apply to minors, so schools can’t mandate it yet, but you can bet that the instant they do, it will be, at least in “blue” states.

  58. If you take the mRNA vaccines seriously, you’re demonstrating Gell-Mann Amnesia.

    Everything else these assholes have told us has been wrong; what the hell makes any of you accept what they are telling you about those medications at face value?

    I’ve been following the mRNA technology now for about twenty years or so; I first read of it in the late 1990s. Back then, it was like nuclear fusion–“It will be a game changer in just five years… We’ll be able to vaccinate against everything, even the common cold!!!”.

    Followed by “Weeeeellllll… The testing has shown some issues; it isn’t working, it isn’t safe, we can’t release it yet…”.

    I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the FDA may be overly conservative and cautious, in a lot of things. But, I will also point out, they’ve been right in a lot of cases–And, with any unknown/unproven technology like this, I think the precautionary principle is just common sense.

    I find it significant that the COVID crisis was immediately put to use in pushing mRNA technology through the pipeline, with unseemly and suspicious speed. You were reading, back around 2018-ish, that they were seeing the vaccines based on this technology being ready for mainstream use sometime in the 2030s. With COVID…? LOL; anyone remember Rahm Emanuel and his “…never let a crisis go to waste…” comedy bit?

    Also, examine the various things that are being pointed out by the “conspiracy theorists”, like Bill Gates and his prescient little speech. Note the involvement of Fauci and his hangers-on in the Wuhan scene. Look at all the other little things going on all around this situation, taking them all into account.

    Now, looking at the outline of all those data points, how fucking likely do you think it is that this mRNA bullshit is a bit of “good luck”?

    All I can say is that there are an awful lot of credulous and trusting people out there, most of whom are gonna be sadly surprised when they finally roll up the con. You keep hearing them talk about the “Great Reset”… Just what the hell do you think that really is? They’re showing their tells, and most of you aren’t even cognizant enough to recognize what they’re doing. You’re being conned; I have no idea what the end of it all is, or precisely what we’re being conned out of or over, but I damn sure know one when I see one. I feel like I’m that guy walking by a street-corner Three-Card Monte scam, trying to warn the rubes about what’s going on, but nobody will believe me.

    Ah, well. Y’all will see, soon enough.

    I think there’s a reason they keep spending money like water, and running up the bill: They know damn good and well they’ll never have to pay it back and that the bills will never come due for them. It’s clear something is going on, because there’s no damn way that anyone with half a brain would be doing the things these idiots are doing–Taken a look at the financial state for most of the major cities and states here in the US, lately? Or, the state of the Chinese economy? It’s all a fucking house of cards, and when the moment comes, the whole thing is going to go “BOOM”. I can’t help but feel that this COVID idiocy is part of the game, and my more paranoid speculations are that they intend to eliminate a huge swathe of the “problem” around the world so that the nomenklatura can keep right on keeping on with the game…

    Does no one note that we’re doing all this damage to ourselves over a disease that 99% of the population survives having? That we’ve never, ever dealt with anything like this before, in this manner? Did we lockdown the economy for the Hong Kong Flu, or anything else even remotely akin? Did we shut everything down during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic?

    Unprecedented solutions to convenient “crisis events” strike me as suspicious, on the face of themselves. This is no different. I continue to marvel at the sheer credulity of those all around me… I feel like the one cow in the truck that’s noticed we didn’t take the usual turn up to the grazing lands in the hills, but are instead headed to the city and the feedlots…

  59. David F: “For what age range, sex, and health conditions is vaccination a good bet vs a questionable bet?”

    Well, we know with Biblical certainty that deaths ascribed to Covid among working age people and children are truly minimal. We also know that NO-ONE can say whether or not there are long-term effects from these new types of treatments. There are worrying tales about tests of similar precursor treatments on animals resulting in high death rates from subsequent infections, and there are arguments about the treatment possibly causing infertility in women of child-bearing age, in addition to the near-term negative effects noted by Brian.

    So for people up to retirement age, it seems that the treatment is a trade off between two low probability bad outcomes. Since NO-ONE has firm knowledge of both risks, the reasonable approach in all humility would be to get as much hard data as possible to the public and let each individual make up his or her own mind. Parents should of course make the decision for their children.

    Instead, government entities which have deservedly lost all credibility are pushing mandatory injection. That only makes a reasonable person’s spidey sense tingle.

  60. Believing that the vaccines are a good idea for some people isn’t the same as believing that govt should force those people to get vaccinated.

    Evaluating vaccine risks and benefits based on data such as the Israeli data David cited isn’t the same as rejecting concerns about mRNA vaccines. People often have to make decisions based on limited information.

    Just because the govt wants universal vaccination doesn’t make vaccination a bad idea.

  61. As I’m trying to point out… Credulous and trusting is no way to go through life and survive.

    Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not just a cool Latin phrase used by the legal profession; it’s a pretty damn good way to evaluate any information you’re being told from the same sources.

    If they were telling us the truth, why lie at all about any of it?

    If they feel the need to lie about the things they have lied about, then what was the point? Why the lies?

    Feel free to trust the bastards. Me? I’m not seeing any positive counteractions I can take, but I’ll be damned if I close my eyes and keep walking into the abattoir. There is something seriously, seriously wrong with everything that’s been going on in the last couple of years, and while I’m not a huge fan of conspiracy theories, there is that unfortunate fact that there are far too many “convenient” coincidences of things going wrong for me to accept that all of this is sheer misfortune or happenstance.

  62. Jonathan: >i>”Just because the govt wants universal vaccination doesn’t make vaccination a bad idea.”

    No argument about that. If the fallible human beings in government were encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, and openly laying out the benefits and risks honestly — there would be no problem.

    However, those same fallible (not to say ‘proven liars’) in government are threatening to send our fellow citizens who volunteered for military service to the brig if they refuse a compulsory injection. That is NOT the same thing as encouraging universal vaccination!

    Why do the Best & Brightest have to be so heavy handed? Their behavior simply does not pass the smell test.

  63. @ Gavin,

    Do remember that they did similar things over the Anthrax vaccine, back when. They got away with it…

    I’m not very sure if there were or there weren’t any negative side-effects from that vaccine. I do know that after all the kerfuffle, they phased it out, saying that it was “unnecessary” under current conditions.

    At the end of the day, you have to make your choices. I’m thinking of a couple of people I know who got hit with a full suite of vaccinations on multiple occasions due to lost records at deployment time. You want to see someone knocked flat on their ass, re-do all their military-mandated vaccinations all at once. Then, note how they do, later on–At least one guy I know who got hit not once, but three times for lost medical records and had his vaccinations completely redone three times due to that…? He developed some very interesting auto-immune issues later on, as well as (I think…) Parkinson’s. Before he was 35. Healthy as a horse before that…

    I don’t think we know quite as much as we think we do on this issue, and I’m dead certain that we don’t know much at all about mRNA vaccines. Yet. We’re gonna learn, though–The hard way.

  64. David:
    FYI, this preprint from today, from Israel, says that acquired immunity is better than vaccination, all usual caveats apply, I’m not an expert, etc.:
    Conclusions: This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.

    It’s not clear to me that they really looked at trying to figure out if there’s compelling reason to get vaxxed if you’ve already been infected, though that last line seems to suggest it, but the abstract makes it a bit unclear what they actually looked at.

  65. “Nobody of your beloved officials are talking about herd immunity anymore – did you notice? They lied to us.”

    Maybe didn’t lie, but screwed up instead?

    There are problems with herd immunity. First, it depends on infectivity (R0), which has certainly significantly increased, if not doubled with the Delta variant, which essentially pushed out the other variants in this country over the month of July. If I remember correctly, herd immunity was predicted for the original strain of COVID-19 at maybe 65% (HIT=Herd Immunity Threshold). But with Delta’s much higher R0, herd immunity may require immunity as high as almost 90% of the population.

    It was thought that we could get to the required HIT of 65% or so of the population required for herd immunity by immunizing a significant portion of the population, which combined with those who had their own immunities from surviving the virus, would exceed the required HIT. The factor that was not apparently considered was that theory assumes sterilizing vaccines, that protect you from getting a virus after being vaccinated for it. But these vaccines are not sterilizing. They don’t protect you from getting the virus, just from getting as sick from it. It is very common these days for people to get the virus after they have been vaccinated with these novel vaccines (“breakthrough” cases). And then they potentially pass it on, before their bodies have eliminated the virus. What this means is that the simplistic solution of adding vaccinated to previously infected until you get over the herd immunity threshold doesn’t work, and we are probably back to relying on natural immunity to get to that level – which has become that much more difficult with the significantly higher R0 of the Delta variant pushing the herd immunity threshold to include most of the population.

    FYI the values given for COVID-19 variant values in Wikipedia are:
    Ancestral: R0=2.87, HIT=65%
    Alpha: R0=4-5, HIT=75-80%
    Delta: R0=5-8, HIT= 80-88%

  66. So the obvious solution, Mr Hayden, is to give the shot to everyone who is at high risk from covid–the elderly, obese, etc.–and then everyone should be acting completely normal. Young people essentially never get seriously ill, so letting them gain acquired immunity is fine, and those who are vaccinated apparently almost never do either (at least for a short time, for the elderly). In fact, people shouldn’t be acting normal–they should actively be seeking out getting infected. That’s the only way to get to herd immunity as far as I can tell.
    (Note very carefully what I said, since I don’t want to get misquoted here–people who are at very low risk should just get infected, and those who are at high risk should lower their risk and then get infected, unless they can’t lower that risk, in which case they should be very careful not to be. All the other junk we’re doing needs to go away, and life needs to be back to normal.)

  67. On point:

    The more I look at this whole COVID thing, the more I’m thinking “Manufactured crisis…”, and when you couple this with the oligarchy telegraphing things like their “Great Reset”…?

    Ya really start to wonder. COVID looks to be about as lethal or less lethal than, say, the Hong Kong Flu pandemic of the 1960s or the Swine Flu epidemic of the 1970s. The majority of the problems have arisen because of the way they’re trying to “handle” this, when the reality is that most of what they’re doing is pure panic-mongering and utterly useless.

    By the time you get done factoring in all the deaths from secondary issues like lockdown effects and the destruction of the economy, we are almost certain to have done better by treating this exactly how we treated earlier pandemic influenzas–None of which this even begins to approach the lethality of. The authorities sold this as equivalent to the Spanish Influenza epidemic or the Black Plague, and the fact that we’re not seeing that level of effect seems to be lost on people. A 99.9% survival rate does not a plague make, friends…

  68. Kirk: “The majority of the problems have arisen because of the way they’re trying to “handle” this, when the reality is that most of what they’re doing is pure panic-mongering and utterly useless.”

    I agree with that, but let’s take a step back. The problem was not that the Best & Brightest introduced those useless measures in the first place — the problem is that they were too arrogant and too self-important to say “Never mind — As you were” when it quickly become obvious they were over-reacting.

    Broken record time — I think we were all shocked with those first photos & videos from Wuhan: well-dressed working-age men collapsed in the street, seriously ill or dead. When we see a disease as virulent as that, we damn well should take it very seriously. Rapid intrusive action was appropriate.

    But then there was the Diamond Princess cruise ship. about 4,000 people confined onboard a ship where transmission was very easy. Yet 80% of the people did not even catch the disease. It was fairly mild for about 80% of the people who did catch it, and only a handful of people died — all of them very advanced in years and with co-morbidities. That told us we could live with the dreaded Covid. At that point, honest leaders would have rolled back the excesses of their Lock Downs — but they did not. Maybe their pride would not let them admit they had over-reacted?

    Those original frightening pictures from the streets of Wuhan — were they real? or were they staged?

  69. @Gavin,

    At the time, I was suspicious of all the Chinese “information” they allowed out. I have no idea whether those images were “real” or staged, but if you unquestioningly trust a single thing the Chinese government tells you, about anything? You are a self-declared moron, I’m afraid.

    When it was all starting to go down in early 2020, I had a lot of “Hey, waitaminute…” thoughts. One of the key things was that the Chinese were not behaving as though they really took this all that seriously–Yeah, they were presenting the optics, yes they gutted their own economy to do it, but… Something about the whole thing seemed a little to pat, a little too… Overdone? I dunno… I’m naturally an untrusting sort of person. Then, there was the obfuscation about origins, and the way they shut down the medical people talking about it all. That was the other major tell, for me.

    I don’t trust any of this, and the “authorities” only have themselves to blame. I mean, Bill Gates was talking about coronavirus issues back in 2018, and they’ve been harping on the “Great Reset” as well. All of this is just too damn convenient–I feel like we’re being managed into the slaughterhouse chutes as we speak.

    It ain’t a lot of fun, being the one pig in the sounder that sees the nets coming down. Everyone else is focused on the oddly convenient pile of corn, but…

  70. }}} Anything above Geometry should be used only for that house-of-cards-abstract-thinking evaluation.

    I disagree with you utterly on Math for one reason — though, yes, few actually use it — and yes, I’ve probably got a more thorough math background than almost everyone here, and most of the non-mathematicians any of you know, I assert to you that learning to use it teaches rigor, reasoning, analysis, critical thinking, and, as you note, the capacity for abstraction.

    We live in an increasingly abstract world. Much work that does pay decent money these days is in some manner often some form of abstraction. Would that there was something that actually taught creativity as well as math teaches abstraction and reasoning.

    Will you use what it teaches on the surface in your life? No, quite likely not. I could do an integration by parts when I was 15. I’d have to spend time re-studying it now, just to explain it to someone.

    But the undercurrents of what it teaches — rigorous thinking, careful consideration of what is known, and the capacity to take something and deal with it abstractly — are of more importance today than ever in human history. Part of the very issue with current society is how little the essential capacity for all of those things the average person has, compared with those in the past, which was taught by osmosis through math and any number of other subtle experiences, including Looney Tunes.

  71. }}} nor diagramming a sentence.

    And again, you wail about the later-in-life uselessness of the teaching, without acknowledging the underlying processes they taught as a matter of course, which were far far more important than the top-level visuals or skills.

    You have teens now who cannot even tell you what a verb IS, much less identify one. If you don’t grasp the underlying components of your own language, how can you tell when someone is abusing them with the aim of deceiving you? Illiteracy is, as with innumeracy, a greater pandemic than Covid is on its worst days x 100.


  72. Children! Children!

    I have had Instructors and a Grandmother who were more abrasive that Tatyana. Roll with it.

    Mostly, y’all seem to forget that the mRNA (had to do alot of reading since we used fire-stick marks on the cave wall when I was “in”) was a “military” decision for a quick-fix response to a potentially lethal disease. The “dose” was a guess and the vulnerable population kept changing with the virus mutations (Note: There were over 100 mutations between the original Kung Flu and the bug that got to the West.). The details will be worked out in a few years, after careful research, when no one will care.

    My state was one of those thazt prohibited door-to-door vaccination “sales”. I was hoping to show the “Fed” the business end of my new 9MM while I instructed he/she/xe about HIPAA regulations.

    Cherry Picking is the new hobby. “Statistics” over-heard from the next urinal are Holy Writ. Try “” for the Chicago totals that indicate that deaths are usually associated with one or more co-morbidities. Data for ICU patients and deaths generally ain’t worth nuttin without a breakdown of the age and co-morbidities in the population.

    I rather like the mRNA concept. If the spike changes “a lot” it will not interact with the ACE2 “receptor” and will not be a threat to humans. The mutations in the “Delta” variant apparently do not involve the spike protein. The newest variant, Lambda, has some spike mutation but nothing sufficient to escape the mRNA “jab” antibodies. Most of the “data” about the Delta variant is garbage since there is no “field” test for that bug.

    “Herd Immunity” relates to the protection provided by the immunity of the population around you. The disease can’t spread to you if everyone else around you is immune. Unless you live in some out of the way hollow, that concept died with rail travel, Interstate highways, and air travel. Herd immunity goes out the window the first time you get a visit from Cousin Wilber from New York, or the visiting salesman from Europe. Herd immunity may reduce the likelihood of infection, but remember the Kung Flu made it all the way from China and dim-wits (murderers) like Andy Cuomo put the infected in with the most vulnerable elderly population.

    Age: It is known that old codgers (like me) don’t respond as quickly or strongly to immunologic challenge. My Flu shot was marked “2X or 3X” because I am old. Everyone got the same Corona vaccine dose, so it isn’t surprising that the elderly, who are most at risk of death from COVID, have the weakest anti-virus response to the mRNA- produced antigen. Remember that the mRNA methodology was a “war time” tactic to protect the children and working age population who are essential to the survival of the country. If Granny/Gramps survive, we will know better later. In the meantime, take zinc supplements, verify your Vitamin-D(3) levels, and have your co-morbidities (diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc looked after). See your doctor to get relevant, personal advice. (I am not a physician or even a lab virologist, but I benefitted from a good education that taught me how to read, how to learn, and how not to step in the media BS, oh, and a fair amount of biology and biochemistry)

    Preliminary results on the Pfizer potion suggest that it works well at preventing infection (although the test group didn’t include geezers as old as me) but it isn’t magic. If you are old and/or get hit with a large dose of infectuous material, you are still vulnerable, so talk to your doc, wash your hands before you touch your face or your food, and stay away from public transport as best as you can.

    I’d prattle about side effects, booster shots, etc, but it would be safer and more rational to talk to your guy or gal in the white coat. They should be more up to date on the Kung Flu and the “VAXX”.

    Rule of thumb. If Fauci is talking, it is garbage. He is a long time back-office politician who doesn’t have a clue. The CDC-P (Center for Democratic Conquest & Propaganda) is about as bad due to the contamination hired in by President Obama.

    Have a good one, especially Tatyana.

  73. Something very bizarre is going on in the past week or two regarding ivermectin. Any mention of it on twitter brings out a massive swarm of “horse dewormer” comments that seem obviously to be from bots.

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